I test a lot of rifles for accuracy while doing what I do. When someone clicks on a rifle review on Gunblast.com, they are not reading to see how well Jeff Quinn can shoot. They are looking for information on the rifle. They want to know the weight, barrel length, trigger pull, and all other relevant data, but most of all, they want to know how well it functions and its accuracy potential. To be able to show the capabilities of the rifle, scope, mount, and ammunition combination, I have to eliminate as much human influence as possible. A good rifle rest is an absolute necessity in doing what I do, and I have found none that are better than the rifle rests from Target Shooting, Inc. of Watertown, South Dakota. I first met Wally Brownlee at the 2001 SHOT Show in New Orleans. He had a display booth set up showing his rifle rest. He only had one model at the time, but I had been using various brands of rests and combinations of bags of shot or sand, wood blocks, and anything else that I could find to make a steady rest for rifle shooting. Nothing had been satisfactory, but seeing Wally’s rifle rest, I purchased one and carried home. Ever since that day, I have used Target Shooting, Inc. rifle rests for my accuracy testing. I have tried others that came along, claiming to be of high quality and offering stability, but quickly abandoned them. Most are lightweight junk, imported to be sold at a price point. I also have tried shooting rests that claim to reduce the felt recoil to the shooter’s shoulder. While they did reduce the recoil, they did not offer a solid shooting platform. When I am testing a rifle or handload for accuracy, it is of utmost importance that I can keep that rifle stable while squeezing the trigger. If the gun moves, even slightly, before the sear releases to fire the weapon, then I am not getting the most out of that rifle or handload. The rifle rests from Target Shooting, Inc. allow me to fire that rifle to the best of my ability, or better stated, in spite of my lack of ability. Also, if the rifle does not recoil exactly the same way with each shot, accuracy will suffer. The Target Shooting rifle rests allow the rifle to move the same way each time it is fired. In 2006, I had a surgery that required that my chest be split open like a hog ready for the barbeque pit. My surgeon instructed me to not shoot anything for six months that had more recoil than a 22 Long Rifle. I knew that wasn’t going to work for me, so I set out to find a rifle rest that would absorb the recoil from shooting center fire rifles. I tried the Lead Sled, and while it absorbed much of the recoil, its flimsy construction was not up to the task of testing rifle accuracy. Finally, I had a blacksmith bend a truck spring to attach to my bench, upon which I set the rifle butt while it was resting in a Target Shooting Model 500 rest. That worked pretty well, but was very hard on the rifle, and the rifle butt occasionally slipped off, hitting my shoulder and scratching the stock. The spring allowed me to shoot while healing, but was far from ideal. This brings us to the subject of this review, the Target Shooting, Inc. Model 1000LP Rifle Rest with optional Recoil Pad. I have used several of Wally’s rifle rests over the years, as he has progressively added different models to suit the needs of different shooters. Over the past several months, we have been discussing a new system that attaches to the Model 1000 rest that will absorb almost all of the recoil, without damaging the rifle or the shooter. When he first started telling me of his design, I was immediately interested. Shooting rifles with heavy recoil from the bench can be brutal. While standing on one’s hind legs and shooting a big bore magnum rifle in the field is not too unpleasant, doing so from the bench while testing for accuracy can be punishing. After a few shots from the bench, hardly any shooter will be shooting up to the potential of his rifle, if it is slowly beating him to death. Even rifles with relatively mild recoil such as a 270 or 30-06 can be uncomfortable after a box or two of ammunition has been sent downrange, as recoil has a cumulative effect, inducing a flinch, no matter how slight it might be. Again, accuracy falls off due to shooter fatigue. Back to the new recoil-absorbing rifle rest. I knew when Wally told me of this project, that it would be done right. Upon opening the box, after I wrestled it up to the table, I was not disappointed. The design and machining of this rifle rest are top quality. Before ever even setting a rifle into the rest, it was a beautiful thing to behold, just looking at the quality that is put into its manufacture. Every detail was considered in its design. The rest and its recoil pad are widely adjustable in every direction, to perfectly and comfortably fit both the rifle and the shooter. The front rest elevation wheel rides upon roller bearings, for smooth operation. The rear rest, where the fine-tuning is done to get the reticle perfectly imposed upon the target, rides upon springs, for very minute adjustment just before squeezing the trigger. The actual recoil pad is held in a machined cradle with adjustment fore and aft, and also has an adjustment for the pitch of the butt plate, to evenly distribute the recoil forces upon the thick Sorbathane recoil pad. The recoil pad attachment weighs in at 15.4 pounds. The front counter weight adds another 19.85 pounds, bringing the total weight of the rest as shown here to about 61.25 pounds. For those who are worried about transporting this rest, Target Shooting will soon have a hard case with wheels available. This rest is absolutely the most stable shooting platform which I have ever tried. Absolute stability while shooting from a rest such as this makes the difference between shooting a three-quarter inch group and a three-eighths inch group. It doesn’t matter how good your rifle, scope, mount, and ammunition are, you can’t use that accuracy if you cannot hold the rifle exactly the same way in the same spot each and every time. The Target Shooting Model 1000LP rest makes the difference between a rifle showing a really good performance and a superb performance. I have also used the Target Shooting, Inc. rifle rests in the field shooting prairie dogs, where they hold the rifle much more steadily than any other system which I have tried, making the difference between a hit and a miss at long range. I was anxious to try the new Recoil Pad accessory for the Model 1000LP rest. Cutting to the chase, after firing rifles with recoil levels varying from a 30-06 up through a 416 Remington magnum, as well as a lightweight pump 12 gauge shooting three-inch magnum turkey loads, the Target Shooting rest absorbed every bit of the recoil, with even the big 416 delivering no pain at all to my shoulder. None. To my shoulder, the 416 kicks harder than does the 458 Winchester magnum, as it seems to be a quicker punch, if that makes any sense. The thick Sorbathane pad, combined with the weight of the rest, soaked up the recoil with no problem. Muzzle jump was also not a problem, and I was able to shoot the big magnum without touching the forward part of the rifle at all. If you can, watch the accompanying video, in which my two grandchildren shoot the 416 Remington magnum. The 416 can have some stiff recoil, especially from the bench, but both kids said that it did not hurt at all. Most importantly, the rifle also did not jump out of the rest, rising only slightly with recoil. Also, with lighter caliber rifles, such as a 223, 243, or 25-06, seeing the hits on the target through the scope is pretty cool. The Model 1000LP with the recoil pad, like all Target Shooting, Inc. products, exudes quality. The materials and craftsmanship are first class. The price ain’t cheap, but it is absolutely the best rifle rest of its type of which I am aware, at any price. Like all Target Shooting products, the 1000LP is built right, and built in the USA. If you are tired of trying to make do with inferior rifle rests, I highly recommend the Model 1000LP from Target Shooting, Inc.
Jeff Quinn (GunBlast.com)